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I received exciting news that I was successful in gaining a management position with a company I have wanted to work for.

While this is exciting, I will be managing colleagues who have been working for the company for a lengthy amount of time. I was also made aware that one of the colleagues I will be managing, applied internally for the same management position that I will be joining the company in.

This colleague was 'acting' in this management position before I arrived, and I have been advised that he will also be the one doing the 'handover'.

My question is, how can one get to know, and oversee a direct report who also applied for the same position as me? Furthermore, how should someone conduct themselves during the handover in this particular situation?

Thanks all!

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  • Does this answer your question? How can I prepare for getting hit by a bus?
    – gnat
    Jul 9, 2021 at 6:37
  • No it doesn't sorry, that above is a different scenario. Jul 9, 2021 at 6:42
  • You may be wholly overthinking it. What you say is completely common. On every single team there's someone who "didn't get a job" "wants a job" etc etc. SOP.
    – Fattie
    Jul 10, 2021 at 15:38

3 Answers 3

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That's a delicate situation.

  1. Go back to the management. Get a very clear story on why the internal candidate was not chosen, what the issues are and what exactly was communicated to them in this regard.
  2. As soon as possible have a 1:1 with the person. Make sure that you understand what their own ambitions and motivations are and check their level of frustration. Compare what they are thinking to what management is thinking and if the communication from management was received properly.
  3. Let the person know that you value them being there and that you want to make this work for all parties involved.

Then take it from there. The next step depends on what you find and how the person reacts and/or how strongly they feel about it.

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    I would strongly discourage 1. It's really none of your business to dig into these reasons. 2 and 3 make sense though. Jul 9, 2021 at 13:47
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    I strongly disagree :-) . This is a person that the OP needs to manage and that will be a direct report. A vital part of onboarding a new manager is getting them up to speed on each of their direct reports. If there is history, the new manager needs to know about it.
    – Hilmar
    Jul 9, 2021 at 18:05
  • I don't see how digging into reasons will be seen as anything but an ego trip. In addition, it looks like a conflict of interest, given you are in the role and they wanted it. They may still see you as a competitor. I would be horrified if other candidates, successful or otherwise, had access to stuff I said in the interview process. Jul 10, 2021 at 0:36
  • We probably can only to agree to disagree on this one. In my opinion: As manager you need to know what the strengths and weaknesses and the career trajectory of your direct reports are. Otherwise you can't manage and develop them effectively.
    – Hilmar
    Jul 10, 2021 at 19:32
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My question is, how can one get to know, and oversee a direct report who also applied for the same position as me? Furthermore, how should someone conduct themselves during the handover in this particular situation?

Handle it as you would with someone who hadn't also applied for the same position. There's no need to make things needlessly complicated, uncomfortable, or akward.

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  • Absolutly correct. Also don't assume they will find it awkward. There could be any number of reasons why they were not chosen. Maybe they asked for too much money. Maybe they pulled out for some reason. No point worrying about it. Far better to be professional about things and let them be professional too. Jul 9, 2021 at 13:49
  • We know this answer is correct, due to the downvote!
    – Fattie
    Jul 10, 2021 at 15:37
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When you start any new management job, you will need to spend some time getting to know everyone in your team, understanding their role in the company, appreciating their strengths and weaknesses, and deciding what the company might need from them, as well as what they might from the company and/or their career.

All of that is as true for this person as it is for anyone else on your new team. The only difference is, you already have a clue before you've even met them: they wanted the job you got, which implies they have ambition, and may be frustrated not to have got it.

You will need to find out the extent of their ambition and the depth of their frustration - but this is just as true for anyone and everyone in your team. There is no reason to treat this person differently. Put to the side the fact that you got the job and they didn't - that's just business and nothing to feel guilty about. Simply try to understand, as you would for any of your staff, how this person is performing against what the company wants of them, and what this person wants from their career. Maybe they just weren't ready for a promotion or performing at the right level for it, and you might need to train them to replace you when you move on. Maybe they're not bothered, just saw the opportunity for a pay rise and applied on the off-chance. Maybe this is the final straw and if they can't get a promotion here, they'll go somewhere else. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

All of these 'maybe's are just as likely to be true, and carry just as much weight, for anyone else in your team too. This person deserves your leadership and understanding... just like everyone else in your team does too.

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